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Friday, May 27, 2022

Antipodean Anomalies – A Review



Antipodean Anomalies – A Review Antipodean Anomalies is a new vinyl compilation of Australian/New Zealand electronic based music and released on the LER label.

It features 9 tracks by 9 Australian & New Zealand artists who have between them had a variety of success musically and commercially.

There have been a range of similar style compilations over recent years as music lovers and album producers search out for unusual, esoteric, original and sometimes totally non-commercial music.

Early Australian electronic music can be traced back to the mid to late 1970’s when it really was in it’s embryonic state, and while groups such as Mi Sex used synthesisers, their music could hardly be classified as “electronic”.

The more pure ‘electronic’ artists largely went unnoticed at the time except for the followers of the genre. This style of music was generally in the underground scene in Sydney and Melbourne and it wasn’t until the mid-1980’s that it started to become more widely appreciated.

According to the album’s co-compiler, Chris Bonato – “The compilation was compiled by myself and fellow collector Umut  who moved to Melbourne from Turkey via England about 7 years ago. We have a similar taste in Antipodean music and thought it’d be a good idea to bring together some of the more obscure artists we knew and expand our knowledge and search for those we didn’t know. 

Over the course of a couple of years we were able to refine the songs down to 10 that we thought had a similar feel, flow and that worked in context. We then contacted all the artists and and rights owners such as labels. Each song was legitimately licensed and remastered. We were lucky enough that all artists/labels agreed. A miracle of sorts to be honest, as each track worked in unison with the next. 

We wanted to do something a little different and tried to focus on artists making Anomalous sounds, genre bending kind of stuff. Like Rainbow Generator’s [1977] track, “City of the Sun”: it’s psychadelic/folky, but also electronic and celestial, not a common combination. While many of the other songs also combined uncommon elements that seem to be coherent in their own world.”

Track listing:

  1. Karjapooisi Lugu [A Shepherds Tale] -Olev Muska featuring Ingrid Slamer (Aust 1985)
  2. Club Dub – Delaney/Venn (Aust 1980)
  3. Don’t Ask – Free Radicals (NZ 1987)
  4. Melbourne Winter – Toy Division (Aust 1983)
  5. He Whakapapa – A.K.[Ngahiwi Apanui] (NZ 1989)
  6. Metaphoric Illusions – Errol H. Tout (Aust 1985)
  7. Woody – Nic Lyon (Aust 1983)
  8. Green Chaos – Helen Ripley-Marshall (1988)
  9. City of the Sun – Rainbow Generator (1977)

Antipodean Anomalies – A Review

‘Artists like Olev Muska along with Ingrid Slamer meshed traditional folk songs of their Estonian heritage with cutting edge computer technology.

Antipodean Anomalies – A Review
Olev Muska – 1978

Ngahiwi Apanui used his native language of Te Reo and a “cheap drum machine” to create a pulsating tale that highlights the creation of Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand); while the Free Radicals would sing through PVC pipes to construct their vision of post-apocalyptic tribal music. They use a standard electric guitar with voice produced effects and loops to construct a repeating, unsettling, yet hypnotic piece.

Antipodean Anomalies – A Review
Free radicals. Circa 1987

Sydney’s Nic Lyon used his classical training to craft a distinctive gem which matched eastern and African influenced instruments with synchopated drum machines, while artists like Delaney Venn and Toy Division managed to challenge their post-punk sensibilities by blending both dub and atmospheric sounds respectively’

“Metaphoric Allusions” by Harolds Trout is a little more conventional using a range of synths, effects and provides a pleasant piece of synth based music structured around violin samples. 

Helen Ripley is the only female represented on this album and here piece “Green Chaos” is quite evocative. Again while not strictly electronic per se, her use of synths and percussion is delightful and provides an insight into a unique style of composing.

Rainbow Generator [Rob Greaves & David Labuschagne] is the ‘father group’ of the groups on the album. The group had its genesis with recordings going back to 1975. The track makes use of guitar with synths, effects and spoken word and completes the journey tn this album appeared on the 1977 vinyl release – “Dance Of The Spheres”.

It completes the journey through Antipodean Anomalies, just perfectly.

Antipodean Anomalies – A Review
Rob Greaves and David Labushagne (nee Mow). 1977

Antipodean Anomalies – A Review
Early ‘Lectric Loo studio – 1977. Home to Rainbow Generator

The initial pressing was of 500 copies and they have almost all been sold and a re-run is now being planned.

The album is eclectic and varied. It won’t attract the rockers and blues aficionado’s but, it’s not marketed to them.

Antipodean Anomalies can be bought from: Hub 301, Northside Records, Sky Diver, The Searchers, Alley Tunes, Plug Seven, Polyester & Wax Museum. 

You can contact Chris Bonato to enquire about copies –  chrisb@leftearrecords.com

It normally retails for between $32 and $35.00.

It is having it’s official release in Melbourne on Saturday 1st September at HUB RECORDS – 301 Johnston Street Abbotford, between 3:00pm and 6:00pm.

Get along and meet some of the artists and purchase a copy.

Track Samples

These are low format mp3 samples. For the full tracks in a quality format please purchase the CD.

Track 1 – Olev Muska: A Shepherd’s tale

Track 6 –  Errol H. Tout Metaphoric Illusions 

Track 8 – Helen Ripley-Marshall: Green Chaos 

Track 9 – Rainbow Generator: City of the Sun  

This review was written by:
Rob Greaves – Editor of the Toorak Times ( Who was a member of Rainbow Generator and who has a track on this album] 
Rob Greaves
I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I work as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times, but I also think of myself as senior contributor. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were paper ), serious experience in audio editing, and a lot of video editing experience. Currently I'm working as a radio program producer for a national interview program as well as my work with the Toorak Times